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Enhancing Police Accountability in England and Wales: What Differences are Police and Crime Commissioners Making?

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Police Services


In November 2012 a new framework for the governance of police forces across England and Wales was introduced. This took the form of directly-elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC)s—one for each force area—in place of a governance model based on local committees of nominated local councillors and other appointees. Written 18 months later and following a series of interviews with a sample of PCCs, this chapter considers some of the key changes that have been effected under the new framework, particularly in relation to accountability. In this respect, five contrasting, and in some respects conflicting, accountability relationships of PCCs are examined in turn. While recognising the findings come too soon to draw anything more than tentative conclusions about overall impact, the chapter presents evidence which suggests that police governance in England and Wales is at least becoming more visible, more consultative and, by implication, more publicly accountable.

This chapter is a specially edited version of a longer chapter ‘Electocracy with Accountabilities? The Novel Governance Model of Police and Crime Commissioners’, in Lister S and M Rowe (eds) (2014) Policing and Accountability, London: Routledge.

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  1. 1.

    Space here does not permit inclusion here, but several additional accountability relationships for PCCs are further explored in Raine (2014).

  2. 2.

    For example, the sample did not include a PCC who had previously served as a police officer, although nationally, about 1 in 5 of the 41 who were elected had done so. Just two of the nine PCCs were female while, as far as ethnicity was concerned, all were white.

  3. 3.

    In three of the nine cases, a senior assistant to the commissioner was also present for the interview. To protect and respect confidentiality, the nine PCCs and their areas are cited in this chapter simply as numbers (1–9 respectively).


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Correspondence to John W. Raine BA PhD .

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Raine, J. (2015). Enhancing Police Accountability in England and Wales: What Differences are Police and Crime Commissioners Making?. In: Wankhade, P., Weir, D. (eds) Police Services. Springer, Cham.

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